Doctor On Call: The Benefits For Seniors Of Owning A Pet

The doctor is in and this time we are talking to geriatrician Dr. Chandini Sharma. Today we're talking about the benefits of having a pet in your older years.

Tuesday, June 11th 2024, 12:09 pm

By: News On 6


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The doctor is in and this time we are talking to geriatrician Dr. Chandini Sharma.

Today we're talking about the benefits of having a pet in your older years.

Reagan: So, companionship is really what we're talking about during the commercial break, having something that gives you purpose. Is that kind of the point? Yeah.

Dr. Chandini Sharma: Yeah Because we also talked about a Grandpa having a dog and at some point in time, they decided that they could not take on that responsibility. Fair enough. There is that time.

But before that, there's a long period where people can care for a dog or a cat or whatever, like, I was reading, there's even a hamster and all that stuff. I've never had one. So I don't know. But if that's the pet for you, great! Fish goldfish, right? Something, because that's a purpose, you're responsible for feeding it, thinking about it, if you're going somewhere, thinking we'll take care of it. And that's an engagement. That's, and of course, with the dog and the cat who can interact with you. That's taking away the biggest medical issue with senior isolation.

So many times in nursing homes, assisted living more so than long-term care, people have said "this" is what is giving me the happiest feeling right now. "This" being either the dog or the cat. And so that's worthy of thinking again, saying a small dog. Not big dogs, but tiny guys, like Maltese or big, maybe the Chihuahua I mean, those they are so there is a there is research, where it says that there is oxytocin release, when the dog is looking into your eye and wagging its tail and expressing that happiness of saying you're there for me, that brings the same oxytocin that's released by between a mom and a child or a dad and a child when they are looking in their eyes.

When you're petting the pet, the dog especially the same oxytocin is being released because of the sensations that are sent through the hand through the brain to the brain. And so it's, it's, and it has no side effect. Yes, on a rare occasion, it happens that the dog crosses you and you fall that would be the time well before that, if you're a fall risk, you're extra frail, then that's not the time because then the dog pulls you you fall. So there comes a time when it's not okay, but before that, there's a wide area where people are capable of but they just feel out too much to do.

Reagan: We all need some companionship. A lovely companion, some purpose, a good reason to just moving around.

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